The faces behind our climbing shoot. Meet our friend Keiha

 

We invited two of our customers and friends Mari & Keiha along to our Autumn Winter rock climbing shoot in a favourite local spot of ours, the valley of the rocks, Devon. With climbing and bouldering centres popping up almost daily and taking the fitness industry by storm, we delve into the life of a coach to find out more about the physically and mental health benefits, and how a life and love of climbing came about.

Did you get into climbing when you were young?

‘When I was a child I did a variety of sports, and climbing fitted in quite nicely with things I was doing that were coming to an end. I was pretty lucky I had a teacher who was pretty in to rock climbing and introduced me to it as a way of continuing to be active and sporty without being kicked in the head as much, because that’s what I was doing before- I was taking part in a lot of martial arts.’

‘I get a lot of abuse for that to get on a plane for 8 hours to go and climb a 4metre pebble but it’s a lot of fun.’

What else do you enjoy doing outside?

 ‘As well as climbing, I surf a little bit, I mountain bike and I just try to get out and be active and do some specific training for rock climbing.’

How did you initially get in to coaching climbing?

‘I started teaching climbing when I was a student at uni. It started as a nice casual job I could do during summer when there weren’t lectures on. When I graduated, I decided to work in an office for a while and decided to go back to working outdoors doing what I love most, interacting with people and sharing my love of climbing with them’

How long have you been climbing?

‘I’ve been coaching climbing for about 8 years. It’s been a mix of on and off seasonal work and then over the last 4 years it’s been my full-time profession. Its great, it’s a lot of fun, it’s really varied and you get to work with s huge variety of clients.’

‘I love how focused climbing makes you… It’s almost medititive’

What do you love to wear when you’re outdoors?

‘BAM’s pretty much the only clothing that you can wear two days on the trot without it honking really bad and thinking wow this is a bit unprofessional, so you can pack half as much stuff. It’s also comfortable to climb in. It’s got a great range of movement so if you’re out doing stuff personally it’s really easy, really quick to hand wash. It’s handy if you’re somewhere remote and haven’t got a washing machine.’

What words of wisdom do you have for anyone wanting to change their career path?

‘I think I’ve been in quite a privileged position where I don’t have a family to support so I can take a punt on doing some work where it’s maybe not as lucrative and the income stream isn’t good. You have to back yourself and do your research first and make sure it’s something you really want to do’

What do you love most about what you do?

‘I love how focused climbing makes you. So, for however long you’re climbing and whether you’re trying something really hard whether you’re on for 10 seconds or tied in on some big mountainous route, you’re focused just on that for the time you’re doing it, so it’s almost meditative.‘

‘I think if I’m taking a big trip, india is always going to be my favourite place. It’s a great mix of a really friendly local climbing scene, the culture’s great, and there’s a lot of potential for new development’

You’ve mentioned you love climbing in India?

‘I’ve got a lot of favourite climbing spots depending on what I want to do. I think if I’m taking a big trip India is always going to be my favourite place.

It’s a great mix of a really friendly local climbing scene, the culture’s great, and there’s a lot of potential for new development there so you can combine existing problems with going out and finding new things that haven’t been climbed before. But then there’s great climbing to be had on the south coast where I live.

Stair hole which is on the Jurassic coast near Lulworth cave is some of the best deep water soloing I’ve ever done. There is so much great climbing to be had anywhere.’

What do you count as achievements?

‘I think climbing achievements are a weird thing to quantify because essentially we go out find a rock, or a big pebble in my case, and sit under it for days, weeks, an hour, however long it takes until you manage to climb it.

You get to the top of the pebble and you go ‘that was cool’ and you come down, and to anyone that doesn’t climb that’s really arbitrary. You’ve just climbed down the easy way which you could have walked up when you first got there.

There are some climbs that I’ve done that I’m particularly happy to have climbed, things that have taken a lot of work or that I’ve had my sights set on or travelled halfway around the world to go and do. I get a lot of abuse for that to get on a plane for 8 hours to go and climb a 4metre pebble but it’s a lot of fun.’